There’s no choice here. Buy it!

IF YOU’RE A KID LIKE GAVIN

Some choices are harder than others.

Growing up, student Gavin Grimm knew about choices. He knew whether to eat worms on a dare, whether to sneakily adopt a pet frog and hide it from his mother, and that he had to make a choice about standing up for his right to use the boys’ bathroom at school. This last choice, however, was deemed controversial by a transphobic teacher and by students who bullied Gavin. But Gavin still had a decision to make: He could stay silent, or he could fight back. In this picture-book, trans activist Grimm, with author Lukoff, documents his early life and his role fighting for trans rights, a battle that sadly is far from over. The story’s simple but direct text and vibrant digital illustrations work in tandem to create a beautiful, harmonious story that deftly documents Gavin’s fight and explains why trans rights are basic human rights. While librarians and educators will find this an essential title for their shelves, book clubs and individual readers will equally find it useful for discussion, contemplation, and as an excellent introduction to the discussion of trans rights from a humanist perspective. While Gavin’s story is far from over—and he may have many rocky roads ahead—this book will help readers and their caregivers better understand why it was necessary for him to make these difficult but vital choices.

There’s no choice here. Buy it! (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06305-756-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history.

AN AMERICAN STORY

“How do you tell a story / that starts in Africa / and ends in horror?”

Alexander uses multiple voices to weave this poem about a teacher who takes on the difficult but necessary task of starting a classroom conversation about slavery. Between the theft of people from the African continent and the sale of people in America, from the ships that brought them and the ocean that swallowed some of them to their uncompensated work and the breakup of families, Alexander introduces objections from the implied listeners (“But you can’t sell people,” “That’s not fair”), despair from the narrating adult, encouragement from the youth, and ultimately an answer to the repeated question about how to tell this story. Rising star Coulter’s mixed-media art elevates the lyrical text with clarity and deep emotion: Using sculpted forms and paintings for the historical figures gives them a unique texture and lifelike fullness, while the charcoal drawings on yellow paper used for the present-day student-teacher interactions invite readers to step inside. Where Coulter combines the two, connecting past with present, the effect is stunning. Both young readers and adults unsure of how to talk about this painful past with children will find valuable insights.

With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-47312-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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